A history of the third millennium

This page describes the major phases of world history that can be expected over the next one thousand years. They can be divided up as follows:





50-200 years

Growing wealth and welfare combined with increased selfishness, decreased entrepreneurship and de-legitimisation of traditional institutions.


10 years or less

A crisis of confidence, leading to catastrophic unravelling of existing political, economic and social structures, on the national and international level.


50-200 years

A highly creative but obscure time; extreme personal freedom combined with subsistence lifestyles; people will be self-sufficient and self-reliant.


1000+ years

Re-emergence of highly moral, productive and disciplined societies; there will be a slow recovery, with the gradual extension of integration, organisation and cohesion; eventually there will emerge a more civilised and enlightened world order, though this will become corrupt in its turn.

How do we know? Because we have a theory, which is itself based upon five thousand years of historical experience.

Let us look more closely at the three main phases: descent, darkness and dawn.


Disintegration process

Authority will be increasingly defied and ineffectual; over-taxation is likely to precipitate a crisis. The west's authority will be challenged, and it will stop policing the world. It will use mercenaries instead of its own military. Warfare will increase and affect western countries more. Japan, Germany and China may spark wars through their resurgent geopolitical ambitions. There will be nuclear war and it will be seen to be survivable.

Disorganisation process

A series of booms and busts will obscure the growing impasses in world economies. There will be struggles to do with protectionism, economic leadership and control of foreign-owned assets. Gaps between rich and poor will grow on the international and domestic fronts; governments will fail to curtail dependency. Innovation will dry up, in part due to public opposition; economic failure will creep inward from the periphery. Education will be discredited and downgraded. People will squat within the existing infrastructure as it becomes older and less reliable, and finally falls apart. The criminal economy will grow; people may work hard in the informal economy in order to survive.

Discohesion process

People will adopt a kind of individualised and selfish sociality, interacting through brokering services and electronic chat rooms, rather than through existing networks of friends, relations, and work colleagues. Fewer people will share any particular set of values. Art, philosophy and general culture will all become more diverse, less appealing and hostile to traditional values. Nations will co-operate less; intergovernmental institutions will break up, including eventually the UN. Women's horizons will expand; but there will be no golden age of feminine values-just an ever more selfish world. Cults will proliferate to meet spiritual craving; but their very fragmentation will leave people dissatisfied.


Disintegrated world

The dark age will be a time of terrific freedom, though this freedom may be largely theoretical. Internal borders will emerge, as local communities or individual households defend themselves. The dark age will see a war of all against all, though, without military specialists, warfare will be intermittent. Cities will be abandoned and people will spread out evenly. Much of today's infrastructure will be destroyed, either by dark age vandals or by people of the dawn who have no interest in preserving ancient monuments. Plunderers will invade from the neo-barbarian lands.

Disorganised world

Total disorganisation means an impoverished world; today's luxuries and many of today's necessities will not be available. Times will be tough, making people sober, responsible, hard-working and self-reliant; they will adopt a simpler lifestyle. There will be a population crash; those needing technology to survive will suffer; the main medical problem of the dark age will be infectious disease. Today's knowledge will be largely lost and will need to be re-discovered; many records will be undecipherable or simply gone forever. People will look at the world in new ways, losing their fears and inhibitions concerning new technology.

Discohesive world

All forms of association will become defunct and aspirations will be uniformly petty; the dark age will leave no history. Cohesion will be intense but localised; moral restraint will be strong but people will be able to escape by moving away. Religion will become strong again in everyday life; an Islam derivative may emerge and gradually replace myriad local cults. There will be ethnic bloodbaths behind a cloak of forgetting; ancient conflicts may be resolved. Women may have strong roles in society, but they will not necessarily be well off since this will be an uncomfortable time for all. Asceticism will replace flamboyance; sentimentality will be lost and the qualities needed for greatness will re-emerge.


Political recovery

An urbanised lifestyle will return, with the revival of industry, technology and organised warfare. The new political entities will not be free or democratic, but their vigorous expansion will provide many opportunities. Today's world order is unjust; after the dark age, some completely different order is inevitable. A long dark age will give the best chance to today's worst off regions. Africa is a prime candidate to lead; China and Russia have a chance; Europe is unlikely; America could well re-emerge close to the front but in a quite different form. There is a logic in favour of world integration; this will not be consensual like the UN but may borrow UN legitimacy.

Economic recovery

A new economic order will allow today's backward regions to take their proper place in it; this will benefit all. The dawn will see a torrent of innovation, including nuclear power and genetic engineering. Radical discoveries will be made in science, giving people a degree of control over natural phenomena and a level of insight into them such as would today be considered in the realm of magic. In the oceans, in space, and deep inside the earth, people will tap reserves of raw materials that are now largely neglected. The world economy will move to a higher gear, reaching other celestial bodies, and possibly achieving full mastery over planetary dynamic systems.

Social recovery

New ethnicities and civilisations will emerge. There will be multicoloured but not multicultural societies. Perception of their shared interest in the earth's viability may embed local groups in a broadly cohesive global culture. Religion will be widely practised and will strengthen the resolve of space pioneers. Art will celebrate society's values. People's roles will become circumscribed again. New technologies may make possible an unprecedented fourth ensemble, and perhaps a fairer, more harmonious world. Overall, humanity's triumphant progress will resume and will eventually transcend everything that has been achieved to this point.

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